Ahead of tonight’s must win game against Reading, we spoke to Ryan’s former boss and founder/Chief Editor of Football League World Sam Rourke about all things Royals.
How long have you supported Reading and why did you choose them as your team?
I have supported Reading ever since I was about 8, when my Dad took me to my first ever Royals match. It was a 0-0 draw against Walsall, a drab game for many at the Mad Stad that day, I was hooked and never really looked back. Having been born in Reading, it made perfect sense to support my local team, despite my Dad supporting Gillingham!
What’s your favourite moment as a fan. Season, game or anything other occasion?
It has to be back in the 2011/12 Championship winning season when we played Southampton at St Mary's, in what was effectively a mini play-off final. I have never been in a more raucous away end in my entire life, and the scenes when Adam Le Fondre scored his second to put us 3-1 up, will live with me forever. Also, to be in an FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley against Arsenal was something I will never forget. Things like that don't happen to little old Reading.
Tell us about a player that you were proud to have on the back of a shirt, if you didn’t is there one you wished you would have.
It has to be Graeme Murty. He personified what Reading was all about, and simply gave his all week in, week out. A Royals legend.
What’s your most memorable match playing Leeds?
It was a 4-2 win for the Royals back in 2014, against our former manager Brian McDermott. Everything seemed to click that night and it's one I remember vividly.
Are you happy with your dealings in this summer and winter transfer windows. Your thoughts on Lewis Baker since his arrival on loan from Chelsea.
Our summer transfer window was an utter travesty to be brutally honest. The likes of Marc McNulty, David Meyler and Sam Baldock have been complete flops since joining. Whilst our January window was superb. We have signed some excellent loanees who I believe can keep us in the division, with the likes of Nelson Oliveira, Matt Miazga and Emiliano Martinez especially impressing. Lewis Baker has made a steady start to life at Reading, but hasn't been spectacular. I still think his best position is the centre attacking midfield role, but at present, he's being used more defensively.
What’s your realistic aim for the season?
Stay in the Championship, without a doubt.
Your thoughts on the EFL Championship this season. Contenders for Player of the Year.
It's been a sensational campaign, that has been jam-packed full of thrill and excitement. We've seen bonkers games, top-class goals and incidents and talking points every single week. Teemu Pukki surely has to be a prime contender for POTS in the Championship. He's been nothing short of sensational, and is undoubtedly the best free signing a club in the EFL has made.
Who are your three to be promoted this season? Two automatic places and playoff winners
It's a real tough one, but I think Leeds and Norwich are going to do it.
Sheffield United are firmly breathing down their necks and a lot could come down to that clash at Elland Road in a few weeks.
I can really see Sheffield United winning the play-offs if they don not finish top two.
Can you name three for relegation this year?
Ipswich, Bolton, Rotherham
Who’s your danger man?
I would have said Nelson Oliveira, but he's set to miss the clash against Leeds which is a monumental blow for us.
If Mo Barrow is fit and firing, he can be a real handful and a player that can cause damage down the flanks.
Can you tell us about a rising star in the youth ranks?
Andy Rinomhota, who has broke through into the first-team this season is undoubtedly one to watch.
Despite his young age, he has brought supreme energy and grit to our midfield and is a player that is going to have a flourishing career.
Prediction and scorers for the game?
3-1 Leeds - Unfortunately for Reading, I can't see us holding off your attack and can see you sealing an important win. I fancy Bamford to notch a few for you boys.
We’d like to thank Sam for taking the time to answer our questions and wish him the best of luck for the remainder of the season.
By Keith Ingham